In the last section, I mentioned our two avatars, and how they represent two states of the Hero’s Journey — the beginning, and the end — and the gap between them.
Larry represents the beginning, and the first thing to understand about him is: his demographics (outward-facing characteristics like: sex, age, income, ethnicity) are essentially irrelevant to the work we are doing here.
(That’s also why we made him yellow, and a cartoon.)
If I want to live in Bali for 3 months out of the year, that dream is based far more on my psychographic characteristics than any other factor.
Psychographics are what determines which of us wants to leave our day jobs, and which are perfectly content with staying. Psychographics are where our dreams live.
Larry has big dreams.
He’s not interested in the grind of the status quo.
He wants to build a fulfilling life, on his terms.
(I’ve shared that trait with Larry since childhood.)
Yet, Larry doesn’t know what to do.
He sees his dream so clearly, but can’t see how to get there.
He’s tried learning online, but the internet is a seething wasteland of shallow information, ignorant gurus, and get-rich-quick systems.
Anyone entering that hell-scape is guaranteed an endless assault of “secrets to success” until they give up…
Or go broke.
Larry gets these offers daily.
He’s spent more than he would like to admit on charlatans and their grand false promises.
It was the same for me when I first struck out on my own, and I’ve spent my entire working life in some aspect of the marketing industry!
One would think I’d know better, but…
Back then, I didn’t have a clue.
I was too caught up.
It started slowly at first, but before I knew it I’d spent thousands on hacks, classes, and “solutions” that ultimately did nothing for me.
I got swept up in an epic buying bender, forgot my fundamentals (for a long time), and before I knew it…
I would flip-flop from shiny-object to shiny-object with whiplash-inducing speed, and little regard for the cost or efficacy of what I was doing.
I wanted to stay in my comfort zone and get quick, easy wins, not the slow (but sure) grind.
I was an opportunity seeker.
Even worse, I was getting just enough positive reinforcement from clients and “the entourage” that I couldn’t see the problems hiding in plain sight.
(The notoriety and success only made me more stubborn.)
One of my mentors (thanks André) laid it out like this:
And I was running through that pattern, over and over again.
As a result (there’s no sugar-coating it), entrepreneurship has been a truly arduous road. Every step of the way.
If we were to map the common experience back to the hero’s journey, the hero would forever stay stuck, looping through steps 5-9, in the perpetual cycle below:
We tend hit that moment of Crisis and, rather than persevere, we look for a new “shiny object” instead, and start the entire process over again, until we hit another wall.
Larry has become fabulously skilled at a lot of things, but none of them have seemed to matter when it comes to making consistent money.
He’s always doing the best he can, but he’s unknowingly sabotaged himself from the start by operating from broken mental models.
As a result, through no fault of his own, Larry is not capable of making the climb to the mountaintop.
Whatever dreams, successes, or goals Larry chases — they will always elude him…
Unless he can embrace change.
Let’s meet our second avatar…